Through combustion chemical reactions, fossil fuels power a massive variety of different devices all around the world in many different fields. Fossil fuels form from the decomposed remains of organic materials that lived millions of years ago and contain large quantities of carbon and hydrocarbons. Fossil fuels contain large amounts of energy that are released when they are burned, allowing them to power many different manmade devices. The energy provided by fossil fuels is contained in the chemical bonds of the hydrocarbons; when the bonds are broken, the energy is released.
Fossil fuels power many things that are visible all across the world. Automobiles are among the most visible examples; in many cities, the streets are regularly crowded with cars burning fossil fuels in the form of gasoline. Fossil fuels power other forms of transportation, such as boats and airplanes, as well. Coal is a fossil fuel that has been burned since before recorded history to provide energy or heat for many different purposes, such as melting metal ores. Natural gas is another fossil fuel that is used for many different purposes, such as heating homes.
Those involved in industry and manufacturing rely heavily on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels power many different factories that produce any number of different things, from paper to chemicals. They are also burned to provide electricity for electrical companies. The chemical energy is converted to electrical energy and sent where it is needed. Before fossil fuels provided energy for industry, windmills or watermills served that purpose; as more effective ways to utilize the clean energy of the wind and water, such forms of power are again becoming prominent.
Though fossil fuels power many different things and are well integrated into a wide range of industries, there are many disadvantages to fossil fuels that cause people to look for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy. The combustion of fossil fuels releases fumes into the air that harm both the environment and living organisms. Coal is commonly used for energy production, but it can be dangerous to mine. Oil can also be difficult to procure, as it exists beneath the ground. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources, meaning that, eventually, people will use all of the available fossil fuels on Earth.
Despite the disadvantages, fossil fuels power devices and provide energy on a massive scale. There are many fossil fuel advantages that draw people and companies to the limited and dirty energy source. Fossil fuels do contain large amounts of energy that is easy to use. In addition, they are not incredibly difficult to transport once they are brought up from the ground.